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CalPERS, Norges and ERAFP seen as asset owners making greatest contribution to sustainable investment

Asset owners feature in latest survey from WeConvene Extel and www.SRI-CONNECT.com.

The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) has been voted as the asset owner making the greatest asset owner contribution to sustainable investment – with Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global and France’s ERAFP runners up.

Mirova, the responsible investment arm of Natixis, was voted the asset manager making the most contribution to sustainable investment, in the poll, with Nordea (Sweden) and Comgest (France) as runners up.

The results come in the latest survey of the responsible investment market from WeConvene Extel and www.SRI-CONNECT.com.

Their Independent Research in Responsible Investment (IRRI) Survey 2016 evaluates how asset managers rate the services of independent providers of sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) and corporate governance (CG) research.

The survey ran through November 2016 and received responses from 1,363 voters from 704 different firms in 58 countries.

It asked for quantitative and qualitative responses from asset managers globally on how they rate the SRI research published by independent providers.

MSCI ESG Research was named Best SRI analysis (firm) with Sustainalytics and CDP as runners-up.

The best individual SRI analyst was named as Linda-Eling Lee, Global Head of Research at MSCI ESG Research. Runners-up in this category were Gregory Elders (Bloomberg) and Gustavo Pimentel (Sitawi).

In the corporate governance category, MSCI ESG Research was again named to the top slot, with ISS and Sustainalytics runners-up.

Alan Brett, who joined MSCI ESG Research in 2014 as Head of Corporate Governance Ratings Research, was named best individual corporate governance analyst. Runners-up in this category were Adam Ward (MSCI ESG Research) and Irina Burcea/Vipul Arora (Solaron)The best analysts as nominated by companies included: Cedric Laverie (Amundi), Edouard Dubois (Blackrock), Jérôme Sauty de Chalon (Amundi), Hardik Shah (Sustainalytics), Erika Karp (Cornerstone Capital), Fanny Tora (Vigeo Eiris), Gustavo Pimentel (Sitawi), Elaine Prior (Citi), Erwan Crehalet (Exane), Marcus Pratsch (DZ Bank), and Niamh Whooley (Societe Generale).

“The market for SRI and corporate governance research is strong”

The most innovative research product was the CDP Quarterly Sector Report Series. The runners-up in this category were: Solaron (ESG Performance Tracker); Sustainalytics (Unlocking the Black Box of Value Creation); and MSCI (Impact Investing in Public Markets).

“At a headline level, the IRRI 2016 Survey tells us that the market for SRI and corporate governance research is strong and that it is discerning of quality.” said David Enticknap, Managing Director of WeConvene Extel.

Mike Tyrrell, Editor of www.SRI-CONNECT.com, added: “Investment research markets worldwide are under scrutiny with asset managers encouraged to find the best insights and also focus on research costs. It is, therefore, encouraging to see that SRI and corporate governance research have the strength, depth and openness to respond to both needs.”

The $307bn CalPERS is in the news this week as its staff have said it should keep its investments in companies involved in the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline. Proposed legislation in its home state would require it to divest from companies involved in the building and financing of the project. “There is considerable evidence that divesting is an ineffective strategy for achieving social or political goals, since the consequence is generally a mere transfer of ownership of divested assets from one investor to another,” staff said in its recommendation, which was published on its website ahead of an Investment Committee meeting on February 13.